Tag Archives: Big Trouble in Little China

Peter Kwong and Lia Chang to Attend 2016 UASE 30th Anniversary Screening of BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA at AMC Empire 25 Theaters, Times Square NYC on Nov. 12

Peter Kwong, Suzee Pai and Kim Cattrall in Big Trouble in Little China. (c) Twentieth Century Fox
Peter Kwong, Suzee Pai and Kim Cattrall in Big Trouble in Little China. (c) Twentieth Century Fox

Join me and my castmate Peter Kwong (Rain) at  the 30th anniversary screening of John Carpenter’s cult classic Big Trouble in Little China on Saturday, November 12, 2016 at the AMC Empire 25 Theaters, 234 West 42 St, Times Square NYC at 4:00P.M. in Theater #9, presented by the 4th Annual Urban Action Showcase and Expo.

Lia Chang and Donna Noguchi in John Carpenter’s BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986).
Lia Chang and Donna Noguchi in John Carpenter’s BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986).

Peter and I will be on the Martial Arts Cult Classic Mania Panel, moderated by Martial Arts Historian Ric Meyers, and will be joined by WMAC Masters Christine Bannon Rodrigues, Willie “Bam” Johnson, Hakim Alston (Mortal Kombat) and Marco Da Answer Johnson.

Peter Kwong and Lia Chang
Peter Kwong and Lia Chang

Get your Festival Passes Here: http://www.urbanactionshowcase.com/event-passes.html
*General Admission gets you All Films and the Expo
*V.I.P Gets you everything!

The Urban Action Showcase & Expo, founded by Demetrius Angelo, is the premier all-action experiential entertainment platform celebrating diversity and honoring the past, present and future multicultural achievements within the blockbuster Action genre including Adventure, Fantasy, Grindhouse, Action Horror, Sci-Fi, and Supernatural content. Cinemax® sponsors the Urban Action Showcase and Expo (UASE) in New York City.

Opening night of the 2016 Urban Action Showcase and Expo at HBO in New York on November 11, 2016.
Opening night of the 2016 Urban Action Showcase and Expo at HBO in New York on November 11, 2016.

The UASE is the only Action entertainment platform offering both fan and professional experiences through its International Action Film Festival, Expo and Awards platforms.

Emmanuel Brown, Taimak, Lia Chang, Peter Kwong. Photo by Garth Kravits
Emmanuel Brown, Taimak, Lia Chang, Peter Kwong. Photo by Garth Kravits

By focusing on the thrill and excitement of the Action genre and recognizing the need for integration, the UASE sets itself apart from other festival platforms as the only one of its kind! The purpose of the UASE is to ultimately see an increase in ethnic heroic principal characters in film and television, increase the development of content and expand distribution platforms reflecting multicultural images and interests as it pertains to the multifaceted Action genre.

Check out the website for the full lineup of Urban Action Showcase Festival Films:
Saturday, November 12th, 10a.m. – 10p.m. at AMC Empire 25 Times Square.

Oso Tayari Casel, Peter Kwong, Mike Hodge, Lia Chang and Fred "The Hammer" Williamson. Photo by Garth Kravits

  • Oso Tayari Casel, Peter Kwong, Mike Hodge, Lia Chang and Fred “The Hammer” Williamson. Photo by Garth Kravits

    Urban Action Showcase Diversity in Action Celebration: Saturday, November 12th Red Carpet 7:00p.m. – 7:30p.m., Celebration Showcase 7:30p.m. – 9:30p.m.

Photos: Traveling through the mouth of the Dragon with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’s James Hong, Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, George Cheung, Al Leong, Jeff Imada, James Lew, Gary Goldman, Eric Lee

Up Close and Personal with Actor Peter Kwong 

BLACK SALT Premiere and UASE Diversity in Action Panel Discussion featuring Warrington Hudlin, Lia Chang, Taimak, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Mike Hodge, Kelly Edwards, Bobby Samuels and Vincent Lyn 

BOOM! Studios Commemorates 30th Anniversary of the Release of BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA with the Publication of Two Books, “The Official Making Of Big Trouble In Little China” and “The Art of Big Trouble In Little China” 

Photos: Inside HorrorHound and Son of Monsterpalooza with ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ stars Peter Kwong, James Hong and James Pax 

Taimak Celebrates Release of Autobiography with National Tour of Book Signings and Screenings of ‘The Last Dragon’

2016 UASE: Behind the Action featuring Marvel/Netflix ‘Luke Cage’ Cast: Action Stunt & Fight Choreographer Panel on Nov. 12 

2016 UASE: Call 2 Action Martial Arts Action Talent Competition and Branding Initiative with Willie “The Bam” Johnson on Nov. 12

2016 Urban Action Showcase & Expo Featuring the Cinemax Max Action Short Film Competition on Nov. 11; 30th Anniversary Screening of BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA on Nov. 12

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com

2016 UASE: 30th Anniversary Screening of BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA with Peter Kwong and Lia Chang at AMC Empire 25 Theaters Times Square NYC on Nov. 12

Peter Kwong, Suzee Pai and Kim Cattrall in Big Trouble in Little China. (c) Twentieth Century Fox
Peter Kwong, Suzee Pai and Kim Cattrall in Big Trouble in Little China. (c) Twentieth Century Fox
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA stars Peter Kwong and Lia Chang. Photo by Marissa Chang-Flores
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA stars Peter Kwong and Lia Chang. Photo by Marissa Chang-Flores

I’m thrilled that the 4th Annual Urban Action Showcase and Expo is presenting the 30th anniversary screening of John Carpenter’s cult classic Big Trouble in Little China on Saturday, November 12, 2016 at the AMC Empire 25 Theaters, 234 West 42 St, Times Square NYC at 4:00P.M.  in Theater #9. I’ll be in the house with my co-star and pal Peter Kwong (Rain).

Lia Chang and Donna Noguchi in John Carpenter’s BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986).
Lia Chang and Donna Noguchi in John Carpenter’s BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986).

Peter and I will be on the Martial Arts Cult Classic Mania Panel, moderated by Martial Arts Historian Ric Meyers, and will be joined by WMAC Masters Christine Bannon Rodrigues, Willie “Bam” Johnson, Hakim Alston (Mortal Kombat) and Marco Da Answer Johnson.

Get your Festival Passes Here: http://www.urbanactionshowcase.com/event-passes.html
*General Admission gets you All Films and the Expo
*V.I.P Gets you everything!

The Urban Action Showcase & Expo, founded by Demetrius Angelo, is the premier all-action experiential entertainment platform celebrating diversity and honoring the past, present and future multicultural achievements within the blockbuster Action genre including Adventure, Fantasy, Grindhouse, Action Horror, Sci-Fi, and Supernatural content. Cinemax® sponsors the Urban Action Showcase and Expo (UASE) in New York City.

Photos: Traveling through the mouth of the Dragon with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’s James Hong, Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, George Cheung, Al Leong, Jeff Imada, James Lew, Gary Goldman, Eric Lee

Up Close and Personal with Actor Peter Kwong 

The UASE is the only Action entertainment platform offering both fan and professional experiences through its International Action Film Festival, Expo and Awards platforms.

By focusing on the thrill and excitement of the Action genre and recognizing the need for integration, the UASE sets itself apart from other festival platforms as the only one of its kind! The purpose of the UASE is to ultimately see an increase in ethnic heroic principal characters in film and television, increase the development of content and expand distribution platforms reflecting multicultural images and interests as it pertains to the multifaceted Action genre.

Check out the website for the full lineup of Urban Action Showcase Festival Films:
Saturday, November 12th, 10a.m. – 10p.m. at AMC Empire 25 Times Square.

BLACK SALT Premiere and UASE Diversity in Action Panel Discussion featuring Warrington Hudlin, Lia Chang, Taimak, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Mike Hodge, Kelly Edwards, Bobby Samuels and Vincent Lyn 

BOOM! Studios Commemorates 30th Anniversary of the Release of BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA with the Publication of Two Books, “The Official Making Of Big Trouble In Little China” and “The Art of Big Trouble In Little China” 

Photos: Inside HorrorHound and Son of Monsterpalooza with ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ stars Peter Kwong, James Hong and James Pax 

Taimak Celebrates Release of Autobiography with National Tour of Book Signings and Screenings of ‘The Last Dragon’

2016 UASE: Behind the Action featuring Marvel/Netflix ‘Luke Cage’ Cast: Action Stunt & Fight Choreographer Panel on Nov. 12 

2016 UASE: Call 2 Action Martial Arts Action Talent Competition and Branding Initiative with Willie “The Bam” Johnson on Nov. 12

2016 Urban Action Showcase & Expo Featuring the Cinemax Max Action Short Film Competition on Nov. 11; 30th Anniversary Screening of BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA on Nov. 12

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

AAIFF’16: BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA 30th Anniversary Tribute Screening at Flushing Town Hall on July 28

From the set of Big Trouble in Little China. (1986) (c) Twentieth Century Fox.
From the set of Big Trouble in Little China. (1986) (c) Twentieth Century Fox.

On Thursday, July 28th, the American International Film Festival (AAIFF’16) is presenting a free tribute screening of John Carpenter’s 1986 cult classic Big Trouble in Little China,  marking  the 30th anniversary of the release, at Flushing Town Hall, 13735 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354. Showtime: 8:00 PM. The film will be preceded by a 7:00 PM live performance by Eric G. Click here for more information on The Festival.

Kim Cattrall, Kurt Russell, Dennis Dun and Suzee Pai in Big Trouble in Little China (1986) (c) Twentieth Century Fox
Kim Cattrall, Kurt Russell, Dennis Dun and Suzee Pai in Big Trouble in Little China (1986) (c) Twentieth Century Fox

I appeared in the film as a Wing Kong guard and will be attending two screenings this year.

Lia Chang and Donna Noguchi in John Carpenter’s BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986).
Lia Chang and Donna Noguchi in John Carpenter’s BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986).

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA Cast Reunion featured in BLACK BELT MAGAZINE August/September 2015 

Peter Kwong, Suzee Pai and Kim Cattrall in Big Trouble in Little China. (c) Twentieth Century Fox
Peter Kwong, Suzee Pai and Kim Cattrall in Big Trouble in Little China. (c) Twentieth Century Fox

Big Trouble in Little China featured Kurt Russell as Jack Burton, Kim Cattrall as Gracie Law, Dennis Dun as Wang Chi, James Hong as David Lo Pan, Victor Wong as Egg Shen, Kate Burton as Margo, Donald Li as Eddie Lee, Carter Wong as Thunder, Peter Kwong as Rain, James Pax as Lightning and Suzee Pai as Miao Yin.

James Hong as Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China (1986) (c) Twentieth Century Fox
James Hong as Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China (1986) (c) Twentieth Century Fox

The action-adventure film stars Kurt Russell as truck driver Jack Burton, who helps his friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) rescue Wang’s green-eyed fiancee (Suzee Pai) from bandits in San Francisco’s Chinatown. They go into the mysterious underworld beneath Chinatown, where they face an ancient sorcerer named David Lo Pan (James Hong).

On November 12th, the Urban Action Showcase and Expo (UASE) will continues it’s Diversity in Action initiative of honing the past, present and future multicultural achievements in the genre of Heroes, by celebrating Big Trouble in Little China. Click here for more information.

In addition, there are two books by Tara Bennett and Paul Terry, “The Official Making Of Big Trouble In Little China” (August) and “The Art of Big Trouble In Little China,” (November) and a  “Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York” comic book crossover, written by Greg Pak (Totally Awesome HulkAction Comics) with art by Russ Manning Award nominee Daniel Bayliss (October), due out from BOOM!; and many screenings happening around the world for fans to celebrate and commemorate.

BOOM! Studios Commemorates 30th Anniversary of the Release of BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA with the Publication of Two Books, “The Official Making Of Big Trouble In Little China” and “The Art of Big Trouble In Little China”

Related Articles
BLACK SALT Premiere and UASE Diversity in Action Panel Discussion featuring Warrington Hudlin, Lia Chang, Taimak, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Mike Hodge, Kelly Edwards, Bobby Samuels and Vincent Lyn 
ew.com: See exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from The Official Making of Big Trouble in Little China
ew.com: The Official Art of Big Trouble in Little China to be published this November — exclusive excerpt
philly.com: John Carpenter plays his themes from imaginary westerns and real horror films
uproxx.com: It Was Originally A Western, And Other Facts About ‘Big Trouble In Little China’
denofgeek.com: Big Trouble In Little China: From Flop To Phenomenon
yahoo.com: Summer of ’86: The Wild, Wacko Genre Mashup of ‘Big Trouble in Little China’
Actors James Hong, Tzi Ma and Elizabeth Sung Talk Shop 
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA Cast Reunion featured in BLACK BELT MAGAZINE August/September 2015 
Photos: Traveling through the mouth of the Dragon with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’s James Hong, Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, George Cheung, Al Leong, Jeff Imada, James Lew, Gary Goldman, Eric Lee
Rafu.com: A ‘LITTLE CHINA’ REUNION, Cast members of 1986 film gather at JANM.
Up Close and Personal with Actor Peter Kwong
lookitseugeneabano.wordpress.com: Big Trouble in Little China Revisited- Picture Heavy
Funko to Release Big Trouble in Little China Pop! and ReAction Figures
Lia Chang, James Hong, Peter Kwong, George Cheung, Al Leong, Gerald Okamura, Jeff Imada, James Lew and Gary Goldman to attend BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA Screening at JANM on April 8

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

2016 SAPFF: Peter Kwong, Hudson Yang, Albert Tsai, Joz Wang and Baldwin Chiu set for “Rise and Represent” Panel on May 28

On Saturday, May 28th, join Hollywood stars and industry professionals Peter Kwong (Big Trouble in Little China), Hudson Yang (Fresh off the Boat) and Albert Tsai (Dr. Ken), digital entrepreneur Joz Wang (CEO, 8Asians.com), and Baldwin (Only Won) Chiu (Finding Cleveland) in discussing the past, present and future progress of Asian American representation, at the “Rise and Represent” panel at the 2016 Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival, co-presented by Asian American Journalists Association – Sacramento Chapter. The panel will be held at The Guild Theater, 2828 35th St, Sacramento, CA 95817 at 5:00pm.

sapffOver 30 films will be featured at The 2016 Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival, which runs May 27 – 28, 2016. Click below for the full lineup.

2016 Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival Lineup, May 27-28; HIDE AND SEEK starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits screens on May 28

Included with the Full Festival Pass, attend the Rise and Represent panel, along with all Special Presentations, and all Official Selections.

 

Ticket purchasers may buy either a Full Festival Pass for access both days; all day Friday (3PM – 10:30PM); all day Saturday (11AM – 10:30AM); Half-Day Saturday day (11AM-4:30PM), or Half-Day Saturday evening (5PM -10:30PM). Click here purchase a full festival pass or tickets.

General FFP: $50
Students/Seniors FFP: $25
Students may be requested to provide a valid student ID. Seniors are 62 years young and up.

Visit www.SAPFF.org for tickets and complete 2016 Festival Schedule! Learn more about AAJA Sacramento at aajasacramento.org.

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA screens at Crest Theatre in Sacramento on May 27; with Special Guest Peter Kwong

Q & A with Ed Moy, Filmmaker of AVIATRIX: THE KATHERINE SUI FUN CHEUNG STORY and UP IN THE CLOUDS; both films screen at the 2016 Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival on May 27

ABOUT SAPFF

The signature event of the Sacramento Asian Pacific Cultural Village, SAPFF serves alongside a continuum of events and programming in support of traditional and contemporary Asian and Pacific Islander artistic expression within the Sacramento Region.  Since 2013, SAPFF has been a champion of independent films featuring the works of Asian Pacific Islanders in front of and behind the camera.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AsianPacificFilmFest
Twitter: @SAPFF, www.twitter.com/sapff
Instagram: AsianPacific FilmFestival
YouTube: Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival, www.youtube.com/AsianPacificFilmFest
Flickr: sacramentoasianpacificfilmfest, www.flickr.com/photos/sapff

For more information about the Sacramento Asian Pacific Cultural Village, the Sacramento Asian Pacific Film Festival, or to see how you can get involved send an email to info@SAPFF.org, or call (916) 776-6036.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA screens at Crest Theatre in Sacramento on May 27; with Special Guest Peter Kwong

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On Friday, May 27th, the Crest Theatre is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China (on 35mm)  with a screening at 7:30pm featuring special guest Peter Kwong, who starred as Rain in the film.  Crest Theatre is located at 1013 K Street
Sacramento, CA, 95814.  Tickets are $8.00 – $10.00. Click here for more information and tickets.

Peter Kwong shows off Rain's sword at Son of Monsterpalooza in Burbank on September 19, 2015.
Peter Kwong shows off Rain’s sword at Son of Monsterpalooza in Burbank on September 19, 2015.

Peter Kwong is a veteran of film, television and stage, best known for his roles as Rain in Big Trouble in Little China and as Tommy Tong in Eddie Murphy’s Golden Child. He just finished filming Cooties, starring Elijah Wood, and has appeared in more than 100 film and television roles.

“After about thirty years, this film has taken an incredible journey,” shared Kwong during a reunion screen of Big Trouble in Little China in Los Angeles last year.

Photos: Traveling through the mouth of the Dragon with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’s James Hong, Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, George Cheung, Al Leong, Jeff Imada, James Lew, Gary Goldman, Eric Lee

“Lately, they’ve come out with a comic book, some more action figures. There’s a lot of activity that has been going on recently. What the fans would like to know about the film, there are a lot of secrets of what went on behind the scenes to make this film. This film had a lot of impact because it came out right after Year of the Dragon. We of the crew and the cast had to do a lot of work on it in order for us to fight the protests that were going on at that time. Not only did it represent fun and games, but it represented a critical point of where the community met Hollywood. John Carpenter was really amazing because he really reached out to cast and crew. He really asked for all of us to put in our imput. What was nice about it for example, the long hair. I’ve always fantasized about wanting to have that character because of the old Chinese movies, the old sword fighting movies. I was the only one of the three Storms that wasn’t from Hong Kong. They knew I was in trouble. I had to sit in three hours of makeup everyday just to get in and out of the $3000 wig.”

Kwong’s other favorite films include roles in The Presidio, Angel Town, Never Too Young To Die, Gleaming The Cube, Steel Justice, Theodore Rex with Whoopie Goldberg, Row Your Boat with Jon Bon Jovi and Bai Ling, and Pearl S. Buck’s historic epic The Living Reed as the King of Korea. On television you may have seen him in “Sullivan & Son,” “Malcolm and Eddie,” “Sisters,” “The Wayan Brothers,” “Daddy Dearest,” “Renegade,” ” Top Cops,” “Full House,” “Doctor, Doctor”. On stage, Kwong portrayed the lead role as Dr. Haing S. Ngor in The Survivor: A Cambodian Odyssey by Jon Lipsky at the Actors Theatre of Louisville/Humana Festival, and stretched his musical theater skills in Mame with the late Juliet Prowse.

In addition to his thriving acting career, Kwong recently served on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for two terms and served on The Board of Directors of SAG-AFTRA, chairman of the Committee for Racial Equality of Actors Equity Association, and the Vice-Chairs of the Ethnic Equal Opportunities and the Young Performers Committees of the Screen Actors Guild. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences & Television Academy. He has also served with the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Heritage Week. He has emceed events for Visual Communications, The Lotus Festival, Asian Business League, and the Los Angeles Miss Chinatown Pageant four times and had the privilege to go to Namibia, Africa to judge the Miss Universe Pageant.Kwong’s talents have won him an honorary membership in the Los Angeles Mime Guild. He is featured dancing on numerous music videos, including Ed Sheeran’s Sing.

He studied Northern Shaolin Kung-fu which has allowed him to do many of his own stunts and eventually branch off to more meditative disciplines such as Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung Meditation. He currently teaches Tai Chi Chuan.

2016 SAPFF: Peter Kwong, Hudson Yang, Albert Tsai, Joz Wang and Baldwin Chiu set for “Rise and Represent” Panel on May 28 

Photos: Inside HorrorHound and Son of Monsterpalooza with ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ stars Peter Kwong, James Hong and James Pax 

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

EW.com: See exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from The Official Making of Big Trouble in Little China

Photo: Drew Struzan
Photo: Drew Struzan

When it was released three decades ago, John Carpenter’s modern Western-cum-martial arts epic Big Trouble in Little China was greeted by a tepid reception at the box office and often negative reviews (Roger Ebert began his assessment of the film with the words “It seems like a great idea” and then concluded it was not). But, like Carpenter’s 1982 horror film The Thing, this tale of a befuddled truck driver (Kurt Russell), his much more competent partner (Dennis Dun) and the monster-filled fantasia they encounter beneath the streets of San Francisco has been positively reassessed over time and is now regarded as a cult classic.

This August, BOOM! Studios is marking the 30th anniversary of the movie by publishing The Official Making of Big Trouble in Little China, which includes hundreds of never-before-seen photos and exclusive interviews with cast and crew members.

Click here to read the interview with authors Tara Bennett and Paul Terry, who talk about their book and their love for Carpenter’s weird, wonderful creation.

Video: HIDE AND SEEK Starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits to Screen in 2016 Katra Film Series in New York on May 14; Complete Lineup
BLACK SALT Premiere and UASE Diversity in Action Panel Discussion featuring Warrington Hudlin, Lia Chang, Taimak, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Mike Hodge, Kelly Edwards, Bobby Samuels and Vincent Lyn
Up Close and Personal with Actor Peter Kwong 
Photos: Inside HorrorHound and Son of Monsterpalooza with ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ stars Peter Kwong, James Hong and James Pax 
Photos: Traveling through the mouth of the Dragon with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’s James Hong, Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, George Cheung, Al Leong, Jeff Imada, James Lew, Gary Goldman, Eric Lee ‪
lookitseugeneabano.wordpress.com: Big Trouble in Little China Revisited- Picture Heavy
Funko to Release Big Trouble in Little China Pop! and ReAction Figures

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

BLACK SALT Premiere and UASE Diversity in Action Panel Discussion featuring Warrington Hudlin, Lia Chang, Taimak, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Mike Hodge, Kelly Edwards, Bobby Samuels and Vincent Lyn

Photos courtesy of Al Cayne/Sugarcayne.com and Patrick Cashin/UASE.

Warrington Hudlin, Lia Chang and Demetrius Angelo. Photo by Patrick Cashin
Warrington Hudlin, Lia Chang and Demetrius Angelo. Photo by Patrick Cashin

Welcome to the wild, wonderful world of Diversity in Action, courtesy of Demetrius Angelo, founder of The Urban Action Showcase & Expo, the premier all-action experiential entertainment platform celebrating diversity and honoring the past, present and future multicultural achievements within the blockbuster Action genre including Adventure, Fantasy, Grindhouse, Action Horror, Sci-Fi, and Supernatural content.

Anita Clay and Manny Brown at The Urban Action Showcase & Expo's premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Anita Clay and Manny Brown at The Urban Action Showcase & Expo’s premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

Q & A with Emmanuel Brown, Actor, Award-Winning Fight Choreographer and Champion Martial Artist 

The UASE is the only Action entertainment platform offering both fan and professional experiences featuring the Cinemax Action Short Film Competition.

The Urban Action Showcase & Expo's premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The Urban Action Showcase & Expo’s premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

On Wednesday, April 27th, Angelo invited me to the HBO sponsored premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s Black Salt, directed by Ben Ramsey, a live action film based on the critically acclaimed comic book franchise. Black Salt, last year’s winner of the Cinemax Action Short Film Competition, received $10,000 and distribution on Cinemax On Demand and Max Go for 15 months.

The Urban Action Showcase & Expo's premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The Urban Action Showcase & Expo’s premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

“What’s amazing about that is that now we have platform where heroes of color will be,” shared Angelo.

Taimak, Lia Chang and Kinyumba Mutakabbir attend The Urban Action Showcase & Expo's premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Taimak, Lia Chang and Kinyumba Mutakabbir attend The Urban Action Showcase & Expo’s premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang

Owen Ratliff created the Black Salt franchise in an effort to introduce more African Americans into leading superhero type roles.

black saltThe film stars Kinyumba Mutakabbir as agent Samuel Tharpe. Kinyumba a rising star from New York, who burst on the scene starring in Keri Hilson platinum music video “Turnin Me On”, and from there he received small roles in “Entourage,” Iron Man 3 and the” Bold and the Beautiful.” Sheena Chou, Michelle Lee, James Lew, XJ Wang, Panuvat Anthony Nanakornpanom and Ron Yuen are also featured in the cast. blacksaltstorefront.com

Taimak in THE LAST DRAGON
Taimak in THE LAST DRAGON

Thanks to Demetrius Angelo for including me on the panel on Action in Diversity which followed the screening, to discuss my action genre roles in The Last Dragon, King of New York, and Big Trouble in Little China. The 30th anniversary of Big Trouble in Little China will be celebrated at The Urban Action Showcase & Expo on November 12th in New York. Click here for more information.

Lia Chang and Donna Noguchi in John Carpenter’s BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986).
Lia Chang and Donna Noguchi in John Carpenter’s BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986).

Big Trouble in Little China Cast Reunion 

The panel discussion was moderated by Warrington Hudlin, Director/Producer, and also featured Mike Hodge, SAG AFTRA NY president; Kelly Edwards, HBO VP Talent Development and Programing; Kinyumba Mutakabbir, star of Black Salt; Robert “Bobby” Samuels, Actor/Stuntman (First African American in the Hong Kong Stuntmans Association); Vincent Lyn – Actor/Stuntman, Grammy Award Musician (Jackie Chan’s Operation Condor); Taimak, star of The Last Dragon and author of Taimak: The Last Dragon.

Warrington Hudlin, Kelly Edwards, Vincent Lyn, Taimak, Lia Chang, Demetrius Angelo, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Robert Samuels and Mike Hodge. Photo by Al Cayne/SugarCayne.com
Warrington Hudlin, Kelly Edwards, Vincent Lyn, Taimak, Lia Chang, Demetrius Angelo, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Robert Samuels and Mike Hodge. Photo by Al Cayne/SugarCayne.com
Warrington Hudlin moderating panel discussion at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo courtesy of Warrington Hudlin
Warrington Hudlin moderating panel discussion at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo courtesy of Warrington Hudlin
Taimak, Lia Chang, Vincent Lyn, Robert Samuels and Kinyumba Muttakabbir at The Urban Action Showcase & Expo's premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo courtesy of Vincent Lyn
Taimak, Lia Chang, Vincent Lyn, Robert Samuels and Kinyumba Muttakabbir at The Urban Action Showcase & Expo’s premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo courtesy of Vincent Lyn
Taimak, Lia Chang, Vincent Lyn, Robert Samuels, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Kelly Edwards and Mike Hodge. Photo courtesy of UASE
Taimak, Lia Chang, Vincent Lyn, Robert Samuels, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Kelly Edwards and Mike Hodge. Photo courtesy of UASE
Taimak, Lia Chang, Vincent Lyn, Robert Samuels, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Kelly Edwards and Mike Hodge. Photo courtesy of UASE
Taimak, Lia Chang, Vincent Lyn, Robert Samuels, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Kelly Edwards and Mike Hodge. Photo courtesy of UASE
Taimak, Lia Chang, Vincent Lyn, Robert Samuels, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Kelly Edwards and Mike Hodge. Photo by Al Cayne/SugarCayne.com
Taimak, Lia Chang, Vincent Lyn, Robert Samuels, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Kelly Edwards and Mike Hodge. Photo by Al Cayne/SugarCayne.com
Taimak, Lia Chang, Vincent Lyn, Robert Samuels, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Kelly Edwards and Mike Hodge. Photo courtesy of UASE
Taimak, Lia Chang, Vincent Lyn, Robert Samuels, Kinyumba Mutakabbir, Kelly Edwards and Mike Hodge. Photo courtesy of UASE
The Urban Action Showcase & Expo's premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
The Urban Action Showcase & Expo’s premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Mike Hodge and Demetrius Angelo at The Urban Action Showcase & Expo's premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
Mike Hodge and Demetrius Angelo at The Urban Action Showcase & Expo’s premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Lia Chang
TaiMak, Lia Chang, Kinyumba Mutakabbir and Robert Samuels at The Urban Action Showcase & Expo's premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016.
TaiMak, Lia Chang, Kinyumba Mutakabbir and Robert Samuels at The Urban Action Showcase & Expo’s premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016.
Lia Chang, a guest and Kelly Edwards at The Urban Action Showcase & Expo's premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Al Cayne/SugarCayne.com
Lia Chang, a guest and Kelly Edwards at The Urban Action Showcase & Expo’s premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Al Cayne/SugarCayne.com
The Urban Action Showcase & Expo's premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Al Cayne/SugarCayne.com
The Urban Action Showcase & Expo’s premiere screening of Owen Ratliff’s BLACK SALT at HBO in New York on April 27, 2016. Photo by Al Cayne/SugarCayne.com

Black Salt is an epic thriller merging the world of modern day espionage and political intrigue with the ancient world of martial arts. With time winding down towards world-ending devastation, the fate of mankind rests in the hands of Interpol agent Samuel Tharpe. The minifeature is a precursor to the Black Salt feature film and TV series. www.blacksaltfilm.com

Check out Al Cayne’s great coverage of the Black Salt Premiere here. Special thanks to Al Cayne and Patrick Cashin for their photos.

Al Cayne, Lia Chang and Manny Brown. Photo by Al Cayne/SugarCayne.com
Al Cayne, Lia Chang and Manny Brown. Photo by Al Cayne/SugarCayne.com

Video: HIDE AND SEEK Starring Lia Chang and Garth Kravits to Screen in 2016 Katra Film Series in New York on May 14; Complete Lineup

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Q & A with Emmanuel “Manny” Brown, Actor, Award-Winning Fight Choreographer and Champion Martial Artist

Emmanuel "Manny" Brown. Photo by Lia Chang
Emmanuel “Manny” Brown. Photo by Lia Chang

Last November,  Emmanuel “Manny” Brown nabbed two awards at The Urban Action Showcase International Action Film Festival for his fight choreography on the short film Junkyard a.k.a. Stuntmen – a   2015 UAS IAFF Award for Best Action Sequence and 2015 UAS IAFF Award for Best Action in the 2 Min Warning Action Scene Contest.

junkyard

The UASE also celebrated the 30th anniversary of my first film, The Last Dragon last year, and will continues it’s Diversity in Action initiative of honing the past, present and future multicultural achievements in the genre of Heroes, by celebrating my second film, the 30th Anniversary of the Martial Arts Cult Classics Big Trouble in Little China,  in which I played a Wing Kong Guard.

Lia Chang and Donna Noguchi in John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China (1986).
Lia Chang and Donna Noguchi in John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China (1986).

The Urban Action Showcase International Action Film Festival (UAS IAFF) will screen both competition films as well as showcase main stream action cinema over two days, November 11-12, 2016, in New York. Click here for more information.

2015 Big Trouble in Little China Cast Reunion

Emmanuel "Manny " Brown
Emmanuel “Manny ” Brown

In addition to being an award-winning fight choreographer, Brown is also an actor, a champion martial artist,  an acrobat/tricker, a singer, and a dancer. He played Spider-man and Electro in the original Broadway cast of Spider-man:Turn Off the Dark, and has worked on the TV shows  “Elementary”(CBS), “Taxi Brooklyn” (NBC),  and “Forever” (ABC).

Cole Horibe, Emmanuel "Manny" Brown, Clifton Duncan and Jon Rua in David Henry Hwang's "Kung Fu." Photo by Lia Chang
Cole Horibe, Emmanuel “Manny” Brown, Clifton Duncan and Jon Rua in David Henry Hwang’s “Kung Fu.” Photo by Lia Chang

I first met Brown in 2014 at The Pershing Square Signature Center, where he was acting in and serving as fight director for Signature Theatre Company’s Off-Broadway world premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu, and subsequently garnered a 2014 Village Voice Obie Award for his fight direction.

Emmanuel "Manny" Brown takes a bow at the curtain call of David Henry Hwang's "Kung Fu" at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Emmanuel “Manny” Brown takes a bow at the curtain call of David Henry Hwang’s “Kung Fu” at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Photos: Backstage and Opening Night of Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s ‘Kung Fu’ 

Branden Jacob-Jenkins’ Appropriate, Lisa Kron’s Fun Home, Sonya Tayeh, Emmanuel Brown, Mia Katigbak, K. Todd Freeman, John Earl Jelks Among 2014 Obie Award Winners

His other Off-Broadway credits include Charles Mee’s Big Love (Signature Theatre Company); Sweet Science Suite (BAM); and the Classical Theatre of Harlem productions of The Tempest as Stefano and Romeo N Juliet as Tybalt. In addition to Kung Fuhe has served as fight director for Sweet Science SuiteDeadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon! (La Mama), Coin TossWorld’s FinestUnder the GunHis regional theater credits include Sucker Punch  (Studio Theatre of DC) and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (La Jolla Playhouse). Brown holds a B.F.A from the University of Florida.

Bobby Steggert, Emmanuel Brown and Ryan-James Hatanaka. Photo by T Charles Erickson.
Bobby Steggert, Emmanuel Brown and Ryan-James Hatanaka. Photo by T Charles Erickson.

Below is my interview with Manny about his favorite martial arts films, his latest accolades and what he’s been up to lately.

Emmanuel "Manny" Brown. Photo courtesy of Emmanuel "Manny" Brown/Facebook
Emmanuel “Manny” Brown. Photo courtesy of Emmanuel “Manny” Brown/Facebook

Lia: How old were you when you developed your love of acting and martial arts?
Manny: I developed a love for martial arts after my first class as a 10-year-old. I had an appreciation for acting all my life and did some acting classes in middle school and high school, but I decided to get serious about it when I was 19.

Lia: The 2016 Urban Action Showcase will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Big Trouble in Little China in November this year.  Does this mean anything to you?
Manny: Absolutely. Big Trouble in Little China was one of the first movies featuring the martial arts that I had ever seen because I have an older sister who was obsessed with it. It is a part of my youth.

Lia: What other films have inspired you? 
Manny: Rumble in the BronxThe Last DragonLady DragonLegend of Drunken Master, Enter the DragonFist of Legend36th Chamber of ShaolinFearless Hyena, Jackie Chan’s First Strike.

Lia: What did it mean for you to receive these awards?
Manny: These awards mean that I am one step closer to doing fight choreography on film and TV and that all of my studying of film fighting is paying off.

Emmanuel "Manny" Brown. Photo by Ryu Ronnie Wright
Emmanuel “Manny” Brown. Photo by Ryu Ronnie Wright

Click below to watch Junkyard.

Lia: How did you get hired for Spider-Man? What was your experience of working on the production and being on Broadway?
Manny: 
I got cast in Spider-man by attending an open dance call. I had a great experience working on the show despite all of the controversy/problems. Being on Broadway is an experience like no other. Such great, receptive and enthusiastic audiences.

Cast members of the Broadway production of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." Dale May for Time Out New York
Cast members of the Broadway production of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” Dale May for Time Out New York

Lia: What kind of adjustments do you make working on your fight direction on film, on television and on stage? 
Manny: I usually find myself having to make more adjustments when working on stage, as I can’t rely on editing and complete control of audience sightlines. I always try to adjust to my performers abilities to make them look as good as possible. On stage I have to work harder to make each technique “sell” to the audience.

Ari Loeb and Cole Horibe in David Henry Hwang's "Kung Fu". Photo by Joan Marcus
Ari Loeb and Cole Horibe in David Henry Hwang’s “Kung Fu”. Photo by Joan Marcus

Lia: Do you have a preferred medium?
Manny: I don’t have a preferred medium as each poses its own set of challenges.

The cast and creative team of David Henry Hwang's celebrate at their opening night party at Signature Theatre Company's Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
The cast and creative team of David Henry Hwang’s celebrate at their opening night party at Signature Theatre Company’s Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Tell me more about the Urban Action Showcase.
Manny: The Showcase has been terrific both times I attended. It has introduced me to other action artists and icons I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. Demetrius (Demetrius Angelo is the Founder and Executive Producer of the Urban Action Showcase and Expo) has done a lot to provide a platform for us, indie filmmakers and I am grateful for that.

Lia: Who have you been inspired by in the martial arts world? 
Manny: Jackie Chan, Don Wilson, Cynthia Rothrock, Richard Norton, Billy Blanks, Ted Jan Roberts, Bruce Lee, Jim Kelly.

Lia: Have you had mentors? If so, who have they been and in what capacity have you worked with them?
Manny: My martial arts teachers – Allen Abdul, Dean Butler, Dale Herring). My acting teachers – Harry O’Reilly, Mikell Pinkney, David Shelton). Also John Chung, who coached the karate team I competed for, and the late Fred Ho.

Sheldon Best, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Emmanuel "Manny" Brown and Clifton Duncan at the opening night party for David Henry Hwang's "Kung Fu" at Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Sheldon Best, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Emmanuel “Manny” Brown and Clifton Duncan at the opening night party for David Henry Hwang’s “Kung Fu” at Pershing Square Signature Center in New York on February 24, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Who have been your acting role models?
Manny: Jeffrey Wright, Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, Martin Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Sidney Poitier.

Emmanuel "Manny" Brown in flight as a Knicks Acroback Tumblers at Madison Square Garden. Photo: Facebook
Emmanuel “Manny” Brown in flight as a Knicks Acroback Tumblers at Madison Square Garden. Photo: Facebook

Lia: What did you do during your time with the New York Knicks and the New York Liberty at Madison Square Garden?
Manny: I was an acrobat for the Knicks Acroback Tumblers and a dancer/acrobat/cheerleader for the Liberty. It was a cool job working at the Garden.

Sheldon Best and Emmanuel Brown in Studio Theatre’s production of Roy Williams SUCKERPUNCH (2012). Photo: Scott Suchman.
Sheldon Best and Emmanuel Brown in Studio Theatre’s production of Roy Williams SUCKERPUNCH (2012). Photo: Scott Suchman.

Lia: What have been your three favorite projects?
Manny: A play I did in Washington DC called Sucker Punch, the episode of “Blindspot” that I was in, and the play Kung Fu I worked on in NY.

Lia: What are you working on now?
Manny: I am planning on working on a production this Summer with Classical Theatre of Harlem.

Lia: A fun fact that nobody know about you.
Manny:
I am a cinephile and and learn how to say certain things in other languages from watching foreign films.

The 2016 Urban Action Showcase International Action Film Festival Featuring the Cinemax Action Short Film Competition Call for Entries is Now Open! Submit Now through Oct. 1 2016. Over $100,000 in Cash, Distribution and Prize Opportunities! Click here for details.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek, which will screen at the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene Oregon in April. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2016 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at lia@liachangphotography.com

Actors James Hong, Tzi Ma and Elizabeth Sung Talk Shop

Elizabeth Sung, James Hong and Tzi Ma at the SIXTY Lower East Side Hotel in New York on December 11, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Elizabeth Sung, James Hong and Tzi Ma at the SIXTY Lower East Side Hotel in New York on December 11, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Veteran actors James HongTzi Ma and Elizabeth Sung were in New York in December to shoot the Season 4, episode 14 of “Elementary,” entitled, “Who Is That Masked Man?”,  which stars Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller, with Larry Teng at the helm. The episode aired on Thursday, February 25, 2016 on the CBS Television Network. For more information, click here.

Director Larry Teng, James Hong and Lucy Liu on the set of "Elementary". Photo courtesy of James Hong's Facebook Page
Director Larry Teng, James Hong and Lucy Liu on the set of “Elementary”. Photo courtesy of James Hong’s Facebook Page

When three gang members are murdered, Holmes and Watson are amazed when an elderly woman emerges as their prime suspect.

Lucy Liu and Elizabeth Sung in "Elementary".
Lucy Liu and Elizabeth Sung in “Elementary”.

The fact that they were working on the same set in the same city is a rare occasion. Their relationship is quite familial. They were gracious enough to sit down with me on their day off from shooting to talk about their collective histories in the business.

James Hong. Photo by Lia Chang
James Hong. Photo by Lia Chang

James Hong’s career as an actor, writer and producer spans seven decades. Hong has acquired credits of 500 roles in feature films and television, probably the most of any actor. His credits include Big Trouble in Little ChinaBlade RunnerChinatownWayne’s World 2, and “Seinfeld”. He also recently starred in “Agents of Shield” with Ming-Na Wen, Kung-Fu Panda 1, 2 & 3Balls of FuryThe Day the Earth Stood StillThe Lost Medallion and RIPD starring Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon and Jeff Bridges.

James Hong, Jack Nicholson in Chinatown Copyright: © 1974 Paramount Pictures
James Hong, Jack Nicholson in Chinatown Copyright: © 1974 Paramount Pictures

Hong is one of the founders of the East-West Players, the oldest and largest Asian American theater in Los Angeles. He served as president and charter member of the Association of Asian Pacific American Artists and was a former member of the SAG Board of Directors under Charleton Heston as president. 

James Hong as Hannibal Chew in Blade Runner. © 1982 Warner Brothers Pictures
James Hong as Hannibal Chew in Blade Runner. © 1982 Warner Brothers Pictures
Elizabeth Sung. Photo by Lia Chang
Elizabeth Sung. Photo by Lia Chang

Elizabeth Sung was raised in Hong Kong and is fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin. Her first TV role was with Hong in 1988, on the set of “The Equalizer” with Russell Wong as her love interest. From 1994-96, she was a series regular in the 1st Asian American storyline on the “Young and the Restless” as  Luan Volien Abbott and is memorable as the second wife in The Joy Luck Club.

Elizabeth Sung as Second Wife in "The Joy Luck Club"
Elizabeth Sung as Second Wife in “The Joy Luck Club”
Classic Soap Opera Digest Cover Date: January 31, 1995- Elizabeth Sung, Peter Bergman and Phillip Moon
Classic Soap Opera Digest Cover Date: January 31, 1995- Elizabeth Sung, Peter Bergman and Phillip Moon

Other roles on film include Memoirs of a GeishaLethal Weapon 4, Falling for Grace, Ping Pong Playa,  Finding Madison, The People I’ve Slept With, House Under Siege, Go for Sisters, Tango and Cash, China Cry, Death Ring and Yes And. Her television credits include “China Beach,” “Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes,” “Kojak: Flowers for Matty,” “Knots Landing,” “Charmed,” “Border Line,” “ER,” “Touched by an Angel,” “Passions,” “NYPD Blue,” “For the People,” “Crossing Jordan,” “House M.D.,” “E-Ring,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” “The Sopranos,” “Ni Hao, Kai-Lan,” “The Suite Life on Deck,” “The Forgotten,”  “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Flashforward,” “Bones,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Awake,” “Mike & Molly,” “Shameless,” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”.  She has appeared in the short films GodlikeWoman in FragmentsNuptials of the DeadThe Boxer, and the webisodes Who’s in ChargeMiss Guidance and Meet the Kayak.

Elizabeth Sung and Joan Cusack in Showtime's "Shameless"
Elizabeth Sung and Joan Cusack in Showtime’s “Shameless”

Sung was in the Directing Workshop for Women at the American Film Institute where she made her first award winning film, Requiem (1995). Her graduate thesis film, The Water Ghost (1998), earned Sung an MFA in directing from the AFI. She garnered the 2013 Golden Angel Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 9th Annual Chinese American Film Festival, and the 2013 Asians on Film Best Supporting Actress Award for her role of the mother in Steve Myung’s Anita Ho, one of her favorite projects to date. She holds a BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School and was a member of The Alvin Ailey Repertory Dance Company. Her current projects include the pilot “Lees of LA,” and she can be seen in the films Front CoverPali RoadFallen Stars and The Unbidden at film festivals around the country.

Tzi Ma as Cheng Zhi in 24: Live Another Day Photo: FOX
Tzi Ma as Cheng Zhi in 24: Live Another Day
Photo: FOX

Tzi Ma has worked in film, television, and on stage for four decades creating such memorable characters as the recurring role of Cheng Zhi, nemesis to Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer on the hit series 24 and 24: Live Another Day, and playing opposite Tom Hanks in Joel and Ethan Coen’s remake of The Ladykillers. Ma worked with Hong on the the film Red Corner (1997), and two TV series,” The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.” (1994) and  “Millennium” (1999).

Ryan Hurst, Tom Hanks, J.K. Simmons and Tzi Ma in The Ladykillers (2004). Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon, SMPSP – © 2004 – Touchstone Pictures. All rights reserved.
Ryan Hurst, Tom Hanks, J.K. Simmons and Tzi Ma in The Ladykillers (2004). Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon, SMPSP – © 2004 – Touchstone Pictures. All rights reserved.

Ma’s distinguished body of work, also includes roles in such films as Million Dollar ArmRush HourRush Hour 3The Quiet AmericanAkeelah and the BeeDante’s PeakChain ReactionGolden Gate, Diablo and Rapid Fire. His television credits include “Satisfaction,” “Commander-in-Chief,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Fringe,”” The Practice,” “Law & Order,” “ER,” “NYPD Blue,” “Boomtown” and “Chicago Hope”. I caught up with Ma last summer when he was in New York for a screening of AMC’s “Hell on Wheels” at the Asian American International Film Festival.

Byron Mann, Tzi Ma, Angela Zhou attend the AAIFF2015 screening of AMC’s Hell on Wheels at Village East Cinema in New York on July 31, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Byron Mann, Tzi Ma, Angela Zhou attend the AAIFF2015 screening of AMC’s Hell on Wheels at Village East Cinema in New York on July 31, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Since then, Ma has worked on Denis Villeneuve‘s sci-fi film Story of Your Life in Montreal and on The Jade Pendant directed by Po-Chih Leong, a wonderful Chinese/English director, in Salt Lake City.  He finished the second season of “Satisfaction” in his recurring role as the Zen Master in Atlanta; worked on Lorne Michael’s “Man Seeking Woman,”  with Simon Rich in Toronto; guest starred on the ABC procedural drama “Stitchers” and on the TNT sitcom “Angie Tribeca” with Rashida Jones. Ma is the youngest of seven children born in Hong Kong and was reared in New York City.

Grace Truman (Stephanie Szostak) and the Zen Master (Tzi Ma) in Satisfaction. (c) USA Network
Grace Truman (Stephanie Szostak) and the Zen Master (Tzi Ma) in Satisfaction. (c) USA Network

In-depth profile: In Conversation With Tzi Ma

Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma on location Hawaii for "Pali Road".
Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma on location Hawaii for “Pali Road”.

Sung and Ma are featured as husband and wife in the independent film Pali Road which is set for theatrical release on April 29, 2016, and is currently screening on the film festival circuit.

CAAMFest 2016: PALI ROAD starring Michelle Chen, Jackson Rathbone, Sung Kang, Henry Ian Cusick, Tzi Ma and Elizabeth Sung Screens on Mar. 12

Elizabeth Sung, James Hong and Tzi Ma at the SIXTY Lower East Side Hotel in New York on December 11, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Elizabeth Sung, James Hong and Tzi Ma at the SIXTY Lower East Side Hotel in New York on December 11, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: What was your first project together?
Tzi: Elizabeth and I started out as lovers on a film called Half Ass by Vic Huey in 1986. We played lovers. We sang this Cantonese opera song. (they sing) For Pali Road, we were in Hawaii for 3 ½ weeks. We had a great time. I fed her everyday. (laugh)
Elizabeth: Fresh fish from the ocean that he caught with his bare hands. I first worked with James on an episode of “The Equalizer” in 1988. I was a poor dancer/maybe prostitute. James played my father. Mako was the gangster lord. Russell Wong played my love interest.
James: Kim Chan and Mako were in it. Mako was a very memorable person, actor. You can never forget him. He had that style of silence, when he goes hmm- it means yes and it means no. Wonderful guy.

Lia: Last April, the Japanese American National Museum in LA had a sold out screening of Big Trouble in Little China, and we enjoyed a reunion of our fellow cast members Peter Kwong, Gerald Okamura, Al Leong, George Cheung, James Lew, Jeff Imada, and screenwriter Gary Goldman. Please share your experience with Big Trouble in Little China.
James: There’s many more films on the horizon for me, but there will never be another Big Trouble in Little China. I’ll tell you why. I started East West Players, 51 years ago. We paid for the theaters ourselves, out of our own pocket to perform, now they are on a sizable budget.  I hope they keep going with new leadership, now that Tim Dang has stepped down. It means a lot to the Asian American actors to have an organization like East West Players, someplace to go to. And look at how many actors and actresses got their chance, coming out of East West Players. They perform such good plays. It’s getting a lot of recognition, nationwide. We need that to augment the actors that we have now, and the ones that are coming. I see so many faces on the television of people that have sort of graduated from East West. It’s a wonderful place for training.

A Big Trouble in Little China reunion with Peter Kwong, screenwriter Gary Goldman, James Lew, George Cheung, James Hong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, Jeff Imada, Joycelyn Lew, Al Leong and Eric Lee at JANM's Tateuchi Democracy Forum in LA on April 8, 2015. Photo by Tami Chang.
A Big Trouble in Little China reunion with Peter Kwong, screenwriter Gary Goldman, James Lew, George Cheung, James Hong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, Jeff Imada, Joycelyn Lew, Al Leong and Eric Lee at JANM’s Tateuchi Democracy Forum in LA on April 8, 2015. Photo by Tami Chang.
James Hong. Photo by Lia Chang
James Hong. Photo by Lia Chang

Big Trouble in Little China was the kind of movie for us, martial artists, the greatest of all, actors, writers, that movie, John gave us all a chance. In fact, Jim Lau, James Lew and Jeff Imada were stunt coordinators, choreographers, and were promoted to associate producers by the end, that’s how hard they worked. So that was the kind of atmosphere that existed on the set. I slept outside the stage, overnight in a little small trailer, got up and put on the makeup. In those days, we couldn’t afford much. It was a tough shoot but it was the best we could do at that time and everybody had high hopes. Believe it or not, that whole film was made for 25 million dollars. Now it would cost you close to 150. Everybody here put 150% of effort into that movie, way beyond what they were paid.  But for some reason, the studio did not put the publicity behind it. They put it into Alien, which became a huge hit, so Big Trouble lagged behind. It’s found it’s own cult audience.

Big Trouble in Little China Cast Reunion 

Peter Kwong, James Hong, and James Pax at HorrorHound Weekend Indianapolis, September 2015.
BTILC stars Peter Kwong (Rain), James Hong (David Lo Pan), and James Pax (Lightning) at HorrorHound Weekend Indianapolis, September 2015.

Lia: David Lo Pan is such an iconic character. What is the reaction that you get from fans?
James: It’s amazing, when you do a film, you don’t know which one is going to become popular. Blade Runner also was a great film, and you could see that coming. But Big Trouble, you didn’t know because it was so new for its time. John Carpenter got the idea from Raymond Chow of Hong Kong to do a film as such. But he put his own trademark on it. For some reason, the hidden values and gimmicks that Carpenter put in have become alive nowadays. When I do go to the conventions, that is the most popular role I have ever done, among the 100’s that I have done. They remember that one. I have no idea why. That’s the way films are, you don’t know which one will grow.

Photo of Leelee Sobieski from The Idol (2002) with James Hong
Photo of Leelee Sobieski from The Idol (2002) with James Hong

Lia: What are your three top favorite projects?
James: Big Trouble is my top favorite because I did do three roles rolled into one. Blade Runner, Chinatown. One of the movies that has never been shown here in America is L’Idole, a French film, which stars Leelee Sobieski. I went to Paris for two months and made it in 2002. It was all in French. I didn’t speak a word of it, but I learned approximately 400 words in French. I was about 80 or so. It was a taxing situation, but I loved it. The French people are so great. There is something about them that is very different from the American people. I wish them luck in the future. I play an older man, but a main character, as a human being, rather than being a cliché.

Lia: With the long career that you’ve had, is there some role that you’d like to play, or a director that you would like to work with?
James: I’d like to work for myself. I’ve produced and directed some films before. Now I’d like to get back into it and do a couple more films before I retire, travel a little and enjoy life. I look at these wonderful actors next to me and say yeah, I knew them before.

James: All of you listeners and readers, please let us know, we seldom get a reaction from an Asian American audience as to what is happening. Do they like our work, do they not like it? Please write in and we will answer your questions.

James Hong (Center) in "Elementary".
James Hong (Center) in “Elementary”.

James: Something about Tzi Ma, he is so busy these days, he reminds me a little bit of what I used to do. He’s hopping from one film to another. He was late getting here because he was on another set in another city. Congratulations on that.

Tzi: Thank you James. If I could follow in your steps, I’m good.

Tzi Ma in "Elementary".
Tzi Ma in “Elementary”.

Lia: What did you mean when you said that you are currently being accessed for your funny?
Tzi: It’s kind of weird, I don’t know where it came from. My last sitcom before “Man Seeking Woman” was “Head of the Class,” which was 1000 years ago, with that kid, Jonathan Ke Quan. I’ve always turned those things down, because we are the butt of the joke. I don’t want to be the butt of the joke. There are a lot of great sitcoms that ask for our participation, like “Seinfeld” or even “Friends”. And every time I look at those scripts, I can’t do them. We’re always the butt of the joke. Not really the participant of the joke. Whereas “Man Seeking Woman” and Angie Tribeca,” we are the motivators of the joke. So it is a big difference. I’ve often had a problem with sitcoms, but all of a sudden, two sitcoms back to back. I don’t know what generated that interest. I don’t know why they asked me to do it, because these are all straight offers.

Lucy Liu, Jonny Lee Miller and Tzi Ma in "Elementary".
Lucy Liu, Jonny Lee Miller and Tzi Ma in “Elementary”.

Lia: What is your character in “Elementary”?
Tzi: I haven’t had time to read the script. I will read the script over the weekend. The only thing that we are clear about it since these characters are Triad characters is that they need to speak Cantonese as opposed to Mandarin. The script was written in Mandarin. Liz and I had a discussion about it, so we brought it up to the director and he agrees. The director of this episode, Larry Teng, is Asian American. It goes to show you the advantage of having a director who knows the background. He knows that Triads do not speak Mandarin, they speak Cantonese. That is the advantage of working with someone who is Asian American or Chinese American because you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or recite the encyclopedia for them to understand what your motivations are, what you are doing, what your relationships are. It’s something that we do, practically on a per project base. We practically have to explain ourselves on a daily basis because they don’t know. It is a lot easier to work on a project when you have three actors who know what they are doing, who knows where they are, and a director that knows everything about us. That’s kind of cool.

12658051_1876241662657215_7739090337491590125_oLia: Pali Road is currently on the Film Festival circuit. Can you tell me more about it?
Tzi: Pali Road is a new experience. It is the first time for me working with a Chinese director who cut his teeth making films in China. He was educated in Australia and Vancouver. His directorial debut was a Chinese film. The film was financed and already had distribution in China. The lead actress is from Taiwan. She has done some films in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.

Lia: Did you like working in Hawaii?
Tzi: Yes. We were in the North Shore. The North Shore is not Waikiki. The North Shore is serene, spiritual, and it rains more on the North Shore. You really get all the benefits of all the native ions coming from the ocean. We were staying at Turtle Bay resort, and we were at the apex of the island. Every morning, I just opened the lanai doors and absorbed all that good energy. It was relaxing for us. It was something that I think given the circumstances on a low budget film, everybody is under the gun, and a lot of pressure on everybody to make the film within 18 shooting days, so I think that if we were in another location, it might have been very taxing for us. The fact that we were on the North Shore, it really gave us the opportunity to at least take a breather. We don’t feel like we’re constantly on edge, given the schedule and all the work that we had to do with the script, rehearsals, locations. I think as a location, it served us, served the project in a very meaningful and positive way.

Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma play husband and wife in the upcoming film Pali Road. Photo by Lia Chang
Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma play husband and wife in the upcoming film Pali Road. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Can you speak to your relationship? 
Elizabeth: I’ve known Tzi for more than two decades. When I heard of Tzi then, we were both dancers, coming from the dance world. When I saw his face at The Public Theater, Dance and the Railroad, I thought, “Who is this guy?” Then, I got to know him through friends. At that time, we’d not had the chance to work together until our friend created the film short Half-Ass in 1986. By then, we knew each other a lot better.

John Lone and Tzi Ma in a poster of The Dance and The Railroad. Courtesy of Tzi Ma
John Lone and Tzi Ma in a poster of The Dance and The Railroad. Courtesy of Tzi Ma

He’s always been an inspiration, like spearheading a lot of things. He never just takes a script at face value. He always digs and finds other angles. That’s very inspirational. If you have a mediocre script, or not so very good script, Tzi is going to make it live. He’s always been my challenge. To work with him, that’s what I love. You have a good sparring partner.

Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma in "Pali Road".
Elizabeth Sung and Tzi Ma in “Pali Road”.

One of the things that I treasure, with  Pali Road, how do we make the characters that we play, husband and wife, the parents of this girl- how do we make this relationship with her, the parents, live? We were from China, and yet we’re concerned for her. How do we make that intriguing, exciting, familiar, with depth to provoke thoughts within the audience’s mind? Or have them look at themselves to be reflective.

6da6dfb33058562e7e725fb65460eed3Lia: What was your favorite project that you worked on?
Elizabeth: For me, never the big budget projects. It has always been the independent project, where the script comes to you and it’s not quite there. And the filmmaker, the ones that I choose to work with are open-minded, you can have discussions and they will take input. You see the script evolve. My romantic comedy project, Anita Ho, the character, the mother’s character was not quite present. Through discussions and working at it, that became a major counterpart to the two leads.

"Anita Ho" 2013 Chinese American Film Festival Golden Angel Award for - Best Comedy - director, writer, actor / Steve Myung, producer, writer, actress / Lina So Golden Angel Award - Best Actress in a Supporting Role / Elizabeth Sung.
“Anita Ho” 2013 Chinese American Film Festival Golden Angel Award for – Best Comedy – director, writer, actor / Steve Myung, producer, writer, actress / Lina So Golden Angel Award – Best Actress in a Supporting Role / Elizabeth Sung.

Lia: And your favorite project with Elizabeth?
Tzi: I would have to say, Half-Ass. The first one. That scene was supposed to be the genesis of a script. It was like a sizzle reel. It was the beginning, a germination of a project that he wanted to do, which we participated in. Sometimes, you don’t see things at the moment. Sometime later, you realize that those things are the most valuable things that you could do. We got to know one another better. We formed a relationship. We know who we are. It just so happened that somehow the universe put us in the same city, because I went out to LA. Next thing you know, she was in LA. Before that, we were in New York together. Once we parted ways in terms of where we are going, and then to see each other, the bond became stronger. Through the years, these things lead to other things. Without Half-Ass, I may not even know Elizabeth. So really, hindsight is always quite rewarding when you look back and say, wow, if that didn’t happen, some of these things may not have happened.

Lia Chang, Bea Soong, Phil Nee, Elizabeth Sung, Eugenia Yuan, Jason Tobin, Tzi Ma and Vic Huey at the #AAIFF2015 screening of Jasmine at Village East Cinema in New York on July 30, 2015. Photo by Ursula Liang
Lia Chang, Bea Soong, Phil Nee, Elizabeth Sung, Eugenia Yuan, Jason Tobin, Tzi Ma and Vic Huey at the #AAIFF2015 screening of Jasmine at Village East Cinema in New York on July 30, 2015. Photo by Ursula Liang

Lia: How has it been navigating as an Asian American actress in the industry and directing?
Elizabeth: Not easy. As an Asian American actress, from my time in the industry, because what was available then, and what is more available now, it was either prostitutes or waitresses. Sometimes you may have some social worker roles, or reporter. But now, it’s a lot more professional women, not just fresh off the boat. It’s still an uphill battle. Not easy. That’s why I said, for the independent projects that I participate in or that I can lend my support, I really do enjoy them. Especially to Asian American directors who write a story that is compelling and that has something to say.

In terms of my directing, it all came from realizing after the Miss Saigon protest, where the role of the Engineer role was supposed to be half Asian and went to a Caucasian who put prosthetics on his eyelids. Tzi was a very vocal representative of all of us. We sweat and we fought for, after the show opened, that this part needed to go to an Asian American actors. In that big movement, what I did learn is somebody who put the project together, with the money, as long as you talk about it, they are the ones that initiate it. If you don’t have the story, and you don’t have the money to give life to a project. The voice many not be as powerful. I went to the director workshop at AFI first. I went back to school to get my degree in directing from the American Film Institute. I realized from my dance background that one short project does not make me a director. Coming from Hong Kong, I need structure. I’m not that self-motivated, like Tzi. I need to be in an environment where there are classrooms so that everything is there for me to do a few more projects. I have put my directing on hold for a little bit, strictly for financial reasons (student loans are high).

With the whole digital revolution, I want to reconsider. It is a very different time. Especially with the possibility of doing co-productions, with like-minded people with East and West. The chance of getting film projects off the ground is a lot easier, if one can find like-minded people.

Tzi Ma in "Elementary".
Tzi Ma in “Elementary”.

Lia: Have you ever considered directing?
Tzi: I have. I’ve directed theater. I enjoy the directing process. I think I can make some contribution as a director. I feel my strength would come from working with the actors. I do understand their journey, I understand their experience. It’s really a welcoming sight when you see a Chinese American director. With this particular episode, we don’t have to recite the Bible for this guy. At least you don’t have to worry about these little things like, I remember working on two or three projects back to back, when I go to the set, I see the same Qing Dynasty painting on three different shows. You run into these kinds of generalities of who we are. They don’t know it.

I think our contributions as directors, is that we have the innate understanding of the culture; we have experienced their experiences, so that they don’t have to go home and struggle and say how do I present the right picture for this director? Which is what we do all the time. We go home, beat our head against the wall. Ok, what are we going to say to this guy? How are we going to say it? In what context do we present it? I just want my actors to go home, do their work, do their preparation, come to the set and I will be there to protect them. I think that’s key, for our presence behind the camera.

Because the struggles that we went through, such as what Liz said about Miss Saigon, is that there’s also a genesis to that too. That character was not Eurasian. At first, the character was Asian. Then after Jonathan Pryce took the role as the Asian with prosthetics, and we saw the cast album, there were pictures of him in yellow face. That’s when we did the complaint. After we complained, that’s when the character became Eurasian. They said, “well why not, because it is a Eurasian character, we can cast Jonathan Pryce. Now the character is Eurasian, and it is okay to cast a white actor. So we know that again, we need to empower ourselves, in every aspect. That’s why I approach scripts the way that I do as an actor. I want to empower me as an actor. I don’t want to walk in a room and relinquish the creative process to someone else’s hand. I know it is untrustworthy. Now, if he is Asian American, then I feel a little better, because then I don’t have to worry about not trusting him.

It’s a process. My advice to young actors is never shy away from saying what you need to say. Eventually, you’ll get better at it. In the beginning, it was terrible. The stuff that came out of my mouth was offensive and abrasive. I couldn’t get anywhere. I didn’t know how. Eventually, I learned how to say it. That comes from experience. Every opportunity you get, speak your mind. Because the more you practice on how to present that, you’ll get better at doing it. You’ll become more articulate. Your points will become more precise. You have to be very specific about what those points are, because time is precious. Usually when a project gets going, once the actors get involved, it’s off. It’s a bullet train that’s left the station already. You’ve got to go in there with your guns loaded, everything laid out on the table. ‘These are my concerns. What do you think?’ So there is a point of departure.

Lucy Liu and Elizabeth Sung in "Elementary".
Lucy Liu and Elizabeth Sung in “Elementary”.

The beauty of working with somebody you know, like working with Liz, since we know each other, we can get together before hand. Like this project. We called each other over the phone, talked about what was important. How do we present it to the director? It’s about being specific. Where are we and at what time are we talking about? We are in New York Chinatown, current time. This organization, if you are a Triad or a Tong, they are a very specific organization. It’s not like they are one. The writers don’t know there is a difference. For us, as professional actors, ultimately, we hold the responsibility. You’re not going to see the director on the screen. You’re not going to see the writer on the screen. You’re going to see us on the screen. It’s like self-survival. I don’t want to look bad. I don’t want Liz to look bad. We really have to do our due diligence. That’s made our working easier because we know each other. We’re familiar with each other’s work. We have the respect and the admiration of each other’s work. We can sit down and speak openly about what are concerns are, how do we handle it, how do we deal with it. Some things are not just about reality. Not about the truth itself.

Lucy Liu and Elizabeth Sung in "Elementary".
Lucy Liu and Elizabeth Sung in “Elementary”.

For instance, Pali Road is a film for China. There are some things you cannot do because it is going to be shown in China. So now we have to figure out a way to help the director get over that hump. He doesn’t even know. This is an important part of the script and an important part of the scene. But it may not get past the censor. We need to think about strategies on how to say the same thing, get the same results and pass the censors too. That’s an added responsibility.

Elizabeth Sung in "Elementary".
Elizabeth Sung in “Elementary”.

Elizabeth: I have to give a shot out to the director Larry Teng. I worked with him on “Hawaii Five-O”. He told me that it was his first freelance project as a director. This time, after Tzi and I had a discussion about the dialect, we contacted Larry and he was open. He was raised in Queens. He had a conversation with each of us, so he said, “I agree.” So after the two voices, plus his initial instinct, it’s a triple reinforcement that he approached the writers to say that this language dialect needs to be authentically Cantonese. So, this way sometimes a director, an Asian American, needs support from the cast. Not just one person holding the banner. It’s not enough. We come in knowing the culture. Tzi grew up in Chinatown. I lived in New York from the 70’s to 80’s, 16 years. I have knowledge, watching TV and reading newspapers that Mandarin will not do. Another thing that I do appreciate Larry, when they were working on my first day, he said, “It is important to me to not perpetuate stereotypes. I want to go for the humanity of this character. Because he said it is too easy to do the other thing. This is one thing that I don’t want to perpetuate as a director.” He had this little sidebar conversation. I said I respect you and I support you 100%. I am there.

Aidan Quinn and Tzi Ma in "Elementary".
Aidan Quinn and Tzi Ma in “Elementary”.

Tzi: Most productions that hire one of us or both of us are very lucky because we know, at least to a point where the characters are properly written. For example, if we were shooting “Hell on Wheels,” it wouldn’t have simplified characters, and we’re able to catch it. This didn’t exist in 1870. It has to be the traditional characters. As far as the experience in Chinatown is concerned, we know that experience. I lived it; I lived at 34 Henry Street. IN that sense, we’re an asset.

Actor Tzi Ma attends the AAIFF2015 screening of AMC’s Hell on Wheels at Village East Cinema in New York on July 31, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang
Actor Tzi Ma attends the AAIFF2015 screening of AMC’s Hell on Wheels at Village East Cinema in New York on July 31, 2015. Photo by Lia Chang

Elizabeth: And the director appreciates that because he has back up. A lot of time, you pick your battles. As a director, there are many of them. If you are able to support him in presenting his case, then he has one less battle to fight. If we can do that for him, that’s great.

Lia: What’s next for you?
Elizabeth: I am working with an Asian American indie director, who has written a story for Asian characters, two sets of families- how they converge in LA, and how each of them affected each other. They went through a journey. It is an ensemble story. It will be an interesting story to tell and my character is a mother who has done all the wrong things with the best of intentions, and yet learned at the end of the day.

Tzi: I’m working on an independent film called Mediation Park by Mina Shum, who is a wonderful Canadian director. Sandy’s (Sandra Oh) in all her films. I think Sandy is like her alter ego. Sandy is also in this film. This film is really quite poignant. It’s about a woman, who all her life is dependent on the husband to do everything-to provide, to take care of the daily chores, bank account, insurance, and he dies. Now what is she going to do? She’s on her own now, completely. How does this woman learn to not only be self-reliant, but who she is. When you are with this husband who has done everything and has had full control of you, you’ve lost you. You’re only part of him. How does this woman find her? This is a woman’s story.

Here’s the funny part-when I was in Vancouver for a meeting with Mina, I was in a bank to get some money. There was a long line, and I saw that woman online, gorgeously dressed, quite elderly, she walks to the counter and she pulled out about 10 cards. She had no idea what any of those cards were. She said, “These are all my husband’s cards. These are all the accounts that I have. I’ve never even seen them. I don’t know what to do. If I need money, I don’t know how to take it out.” Good thing the staff was so nice to her. I’m standing there. Life is stranger than fiction. I was just mesmerized by this woman, because I just read the script. And there she is right in front of me.

Elizabeth Sung, Tzi Ma and Lia Chang
Elizabeth Sung, Tzi Ma and Lia Chang
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek, which will screen at Asians on Film on March 10th, The Women’s Film Festival in Philadelphia on March 13th and the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene Oregon in April. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2016 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at lia@liachangphotography.com

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Photos: Inside HorrorHound and Son of Monsterpalooza with ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ stars Peter Kwong, James Hong and James Pax

'Big Trouble in Little China' trio Peter Kwong (Rain), James Pax (Lightning) and James Hong (David Lo Pan).
‘Big Trouble in Little China’ trio Peter Kwong (Rain), James Pax (Lightning) and James Hong (David Lo Pan).

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF PETER KWONG

In September, fans of John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China who attended HorrorHound Weekend at the Marriott Indianapolis East and Son Of Monsterpalooza Weekend at the Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel & Convention Center were in for a triple treat with BTILC stars Peter Kwong (Rain), James Hong (David LoPan) and James Pax (Lightning) in attendance.

Kwong was gracious enough to share his personal album of all the fun during both weekends.

HorrorHound Weekend at the Marriott Indianapolis East 

BTILC stars Peter Kwong (Rain), James Hong (David Lo Pan), and James Pax (Lightning) Peter Kwong and Frankenhead at HorrorHound Weekend at the Marriott Indianapolis East, September 2015.
BTILC stars Peter Kwong (Rain), James Hong (David Lo Pan), and James Pax (Lightning) Peter Kwong and Frankenhead at HorrorHound Weekend at the Marriott Indianapolis East, September 2015.
BTILC stars Peter Kwong (Rain), James Hong (David Lo Pan), and James Pax (Lightning) Peter Kwong and Frankenhead at HorrorHound Weekend at the Marriott Indianapolis East, September 2015.
BTILC stars Peter Kwong (Rain), James Hong (David Lo Pan), and James Pax (Lightning) Peter Kwong and Frankenhead at HorrorHound Weekend at the Marriott Indianapolis East, September 2015.
BTILC stars Peter Kwong (Rain), James Hong (David Lo Pan), and James Pax (Lightning) Peter Kwong and Frankenhead at HorrorHound Weekend at the Marriott Indianapolis East, September 2015.
BTILC stars Peter Kwong (Rain), James Hong (David Lo Pan), and James Pax (Lightning) Peter Kwong and Frankenhead at HorrorHound Weekend at the Marriott Indianapolis East, September 2015.
Peter Kwong and 'Nightmare on Elm Street's Robert Englund (Freddy Kreuger) at HorrorHound Weekend at the Marriott Indianapolis East, September 2015.
Peter Kwong and ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’s Robert Englund (Freddy Kreuger) at HorrorHound Weekend at the Marriott Indianapolis East, September 2015.

Son Of Monsterpalooza Weekend at the Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel & Convention Center

Peter Kwong signs autographs at Son of Monsterpalooza in Burbank on September 19, 2015.
Peter Kwong signs autographs at Son of Monsterpalooza in Burbank on September 19, 2015.
Peter Kwong shows off Rain's sword at Son of Monsterpalooza in Burbank on September 19, 2015.
Peter Kwong shows off Rain’s sword at Son of Monsterpalooza in Burbank on September 19, 2015.
Peter Kwong and the Masks of Monsterpalooza at Son of Monsterpalooza in Burbank on September 19, 2015.
Peter Kwong and the Masks of Monsterpalooza at Son of Monsterpalooza in Burbank on September 19, 2015.
Peter Kwong and Baby Godzilla protected by Godzilla at Son of Monsterpalooza in Burbank on September 19, 2015.
Peter Kwong and Baby Godzilla protected by Godzilla at Son of Monsterpalooza in Burbank on September 19, 2015.

Peter Kwong Website

Up Close and Personal with Actor Peter Kwong 

Related articles:
Photos: Traveling through the mouth of the Dragon with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’s James Hong, Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, George Cheung, Al Leong, Jeff Imada, James Lew, Gary Goldman, Eric Lee ‪
lookitseugeneabano.wordpress.com: Big Trouble in Little China Revisited- Picture Heavy
Funko to Release Big Trouble in Little China Pop! and ReAction Figures

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at lia@liachang.com